The Year of the Eucharist - a great chance
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
John Paul II began the 27th year of his pontificate by declaring it to be a special Year of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the heart of the Church, a great mystery of our faith, one solemn feast of the Church because Jesus Christ is with us present under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine. The Eucharist is the praise of God, which the Church offers continuously. It is the sanctifying action of Jesus coming to the human heart and thus constantly renewing Christian life. In our times when Christian morality is attacked very fiercely, when we are astonished by what is happening in Europe - for example by what happened to the Catholic politician Rocco Buttiglione, who was mocked by a representative of the European Parliament because he dared to call homosexualism a sin - the Church must deepen the foundations of faith of her members. It is said that Christians constitute 80% of the Europe's population, we have got millions of Catholics, but at the same time we notice that Christians have no influence on the course of events, their faith and Catholicism have no practical application in personal, family, cultural or political life. We are not present in social life because we do not live the life of the Eucharist because the Eucharist goes as if past us, Lord Jesus goes past us and we do not notice him - St Augustine stated Timeo Christum praetereuntem (I fear not to notice Jesus as he goes right past me).
Something similar happens in Europe and perhaps in the world: we do not notice Lord Jesus who comes in the Eucharist, Jesus present in the Eucharist, because of our little faith and little love. We are not aware of the treasure Jesus left us on Holy Thursday. But he left himself to the whole mankind. And men get plunged in sin, harm and exploit others and consequently they suffer themselves because in fact all of this is the defeat of mankind. And yet this world is God's and it should be his. There are so many holy and wonderful people. Take for example the numerous canonizations and beatifications, which the Holy Father announces during his pontificate. However, holiness is still underestimated, pushed aside and the world floods with sin as if sin had its hour.
The Year of the Eucharist is to focus our attention on the content of the mystery, which is performed every Sunday, and many a time every day, in our sanctuaries. The Holy Father calls this time 'the time of grace for the Church'. Perhaps he will succeed in convincing us to celebrate the Lord's Day properly. On that day a human being gives praise to God and profits by finding time for rest and reflection. A great number of people, who declare themselves as Catholic believers, have lost Sunday with its Sacred Liturgy and rest, and changed it into a workday, and thus they have rejected the important commandment of God. The same applies to other commandments. 'More than ever, our troubled world, which began the new Millennium with the spectre of terrorism and the tragedy of war', the Holy Father writes in his Apostolic letter Mane nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord) prepared for this occasion, 'demands that Christians learn to experience the Eucharist as a great school of peace'. We must rediscover the Eucharistic Jesus and let him lead us so that we come to the normality of life thanks to his grace and help. And the Catholic normality is the life of love for God and man. It means respect for every human being, including the old and the unborn. Thus the Eucharist does not only remind us of the most important truths but also gives us a specific project for life. It is some kind of pledge that man, who is God's creation, will keep God's law - the law of peace. Therefore, this year is a very important year in the life of the Church and we cannot miss this time.
The Year of the Eucharist must sound great praise and great submission to Lord God. We must strengthen our religious lives in order to show the Eucharistic Jesus as much love as we can. May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, be our Eucharistic Mother during this time and may she help us hear and keep everything what Jesus says in our hearts - the way she did it herself.